by Evan Stambaugh
A pro-LGBT legal group based in St. Paul has released a “public education toolkit” to pressure schools into promoting transgender ideology.
In a September 12 news release, Gender Justice announced its “Cool 4 School” initiative to “inform students, their families, and their schools about legal protections for transgender, non-binary, two-spirit and other gender non-conforming students returning to Minnesota classrooms.”
“Many students will have changed over the summer. For some, it’s the first time they’ll return to school with a new name, pronouns, and gender identity,” the news release says. “What has NOT changed is schools’ legal obligations to respect and support them — and protections for transgender students are stronger than ever.”
As part of the initiative, Gender Justice is encouraging students and families to spread the word on social media and sign a pledge supporting “trans youth.”
The pledge claims that nationwide efforts to remove sexually graphic LGBT books from school libraries and ban biological males from competing in girls’ sports are “hateful attacks,” even going so far as to say such efforts promote “violence and discrimination against trans kids.”
“Every child should know they are loved, safe, and supported as their authentic selves. Now more than ever, we must speak out and show up for the rights and lives of trans youth,” the text reads.
The pledge also criticizes efforts to require teachers and administrators to inform parents if their child comes out as transgender.
The “Cool 4 School” toolkit page further claims that Minnesota state law compels schools to allow “transgender” children to compete in sports and use locker rooms and restrooms that “align with their gender identity.”
A two-page “Know Your Rights” document released as part of the toolkit cites court cases, Minnesota Statutes, the Minnesota Human Rights Act, and more in support of their claims.
The document also encourages, per Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) guidance, school faculty and staff to “respect students’ names and pronouns.”
“When students are referred to by the wrong pronoun by peers or school staff, students may feel intimidated, threatened, harassed or bullied,” the quoted MDE guidance reads. “School staff can ensure a more respectful environment for all students when efforts are made to correct the misuse of pronouns, as well as names, in student records.”
Gender Justice Executive Director Megan Peterson threatened legal action if schools fail to abide by these expectations.
“With increased attacks and disinformation on transgender students and athletes on the rise in our country, it’s important to keep communities informed about their rights and the resources available to them,” she said. “We have gone to court and won on behalf of transgender students and their families, and we will keep fighting to make sure schools and administrators follow the law.”
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Evan Stambaugh is a freelance writer who had previously been a sports blogger. He has a BA in theology and an MA in philosophy.
Photo “Teacher and Students” by 14995841.